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News for Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 18:24

Rock, Paper, Shotgun reports that Ukrainian blogger Sergey Galyonkin claims that Bethesda has the rights to publish a STALKER title. Since I can't read Ukrainian I can't exactly vouch for that, but at the very least the words "Bethesda" and "STALKER" appear, so they're not talking about Chinese dishes.

This is not the first time the rumor of Bethesda trying to get their hands on the STALKER franchise has appeared, and while that doesn't necessarily mean it's true, it at least means that it's a persistent rumor.

EDIT: Our own Sam Ecorners has translated the post from Galyonkin:

"To start, everything I've written below is based on information from very reliable sources that I fully trust, however, it is not official. Please keep that in mind.

Sergey Grigorovich did not, in fact, sell STALKER brand.

Bethesda, however, is publishing a STALKER game and has all the rights to do so.

The game is being developed for multiple platforms (consoles and PC) based on Bethesda's technology, by a studio familiar with that technology. It might be Obsidian or the Fallout 3 team in Bethesda, but not necessarily. The important bit is that it is not a Ukrainian studio, almost 100% guaranteed.

Bethesda will be able to buy out the entire brand from Grigorovich, not just for games, but so far, all side merchandise is his responsibility.
For example, a few days ago a comic book based on the universe was released.

Release date, technology, details about the game are all unknown to me at this moment.

Update: I can see that there are still questions about rights separation. TL/DR: Bethesda - a game, Grigorovich - everything else( books, movies, merchandise) but Bethesda can buy everything from Grigorovich later, just like they did with Fallout.

Update 2: Bethesda refused to comment on this information."
UPDATE 2: Computer and Videogame's associate editor Rob Crossley claimed on Twitter that the rumor isn't true

Update 3: GSC social media manager states the rumors are false.
the news that #Bethesda purchased the #Stalker rights is false. I hear anything new, you will all be the first to know! as far as I know Sergiy still owns the rights and the requirement for him to sell are VERY high including shares in whatever company buys them as well as who develops the game. This aside from the money it would cose. however, perhaps it could be true but as far as I have been able to find out, its false.

News for Monday, July 30, 2012

Posted by Brother None - at 18:40

Brian Fargo posted a new bit of Andrée Wallin art to twitter, a ranger portraits on which he notes the artist "came through in great style as usual. Sets the bar for in-game portraits."

News for Thursday, July 26, 2012

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 21:40

Board Game Geek had a forum community Q&A with Fallout's lead designer Chris Taylor, and surprise surprise, it turns out people were interested in asking a few question on the franchise and even the Wasteland 2 revival. There's plenty of interesting tidbits there so I'll be generous with the quotes:

What do you think of the resurrection of Wasteland?

Oh, it's great. Wasteland was one of the games that made me want to be a computer game designer. There were a couple key ideas from Wasteland that formed the core of the work that I did on Fallout (player actions should have consequences and statistics matter).

So to see the success they've had with their Kickstarter campaign is very heart-warming. I just got a chance to see their first screenshot and it looks very promising. I will be playing it the day it comes out.

Now, for some inside dirt, I actually did a treatment a few years ago for inXile for a Wasteland 2 (along with Tim Cain and Leonard Boyarsky). Leonard did this concept art of a mutant dog riding a human that I will always treasure. (And an armed Nun that you would not want to run into in the middle of the night.) It was a fun pitch to make even if it didn't go anywhere.

I understand they have Chris Avellone working on the new game in some capacity. If so, that's wonderful news. He is a great designer and should really have fun with the Wasteland world.

(..)

I know that you were heavily involved in Fallout 1, mostly in designing the SPECIAL system from all I've read. Did you partake in any of the development of the plot? If so which portions of the plot did you have the biggest involvement in?

I was the lead game designer for Fallout 1 after Scott Campbell left the project. Scott did most of the original story and areas. I edited his work, finished some areas (other designers finished other areas), wrote a majority of the spoken dialogue, did most of the work on SPECIAL after we lost the GURPS license (it was based on my homebrew RPG campaign), generated the weapon/armor data spreadsheets and wrote the manual. Oh, and did the HTML for our really cruddy website. That was my fault!

I didn't come up with the original plot of a vaultdweller leaving the vault to get the water-chip. That was Scott Campbell, Tim Cain and Chris Jones, IIRC. I may be wrong.

I was there for the original discussions at Cocos we were brainstormed various GURPS settings. Most of those were multi-genre and had to be discarded due to the cost of doing art for multiple worlds.

(..)

Did you get to meet any of the voice actors for the game, like Ron Perlman, Richard Dean Anderson, or Tony Shaloub?

Yes, I did. I went with Mark O'Green and/or Fred Hatch to the recording sessions to handle any last minute changes to the dialogue. Ron Perlman was the nicest person I've ever met. He gave us his Dodger's tickets and we went to the game after the recording session. My ass has been where Ron Perlman's ass has been.

Richard Dean Anderson was a perfect gentleman. He was really interested in his character. We had some video of the 3d heads that we could show to the actors and he liked his Killian avatar.

It was an amazing experience to watch the professional voice actors work. We had a really good voice director and watching him interact with the actors was one of the highlights for me.

Do you ever speak with any of the Fallout 3 programmers at Bethesda (a few of which are members on BGG) or do they ever approach you for advice or knowledge?

Not at all.

(..)

Have you watched any of the Nuka Break independent Fallout movies they have on youtube?

Yep. Good stuff. The whole Fallout fan movement is way bigger than I ever thought it would be. There are some really dedicated fans out there.

(..)

1. You mentioned designing a Fallout Miniatures game, what's your take on a wasteland settling or scavenging New Vegas game?

Any post-apocalyptic setting worthy of the Wasteland name should have guns with limited ammo; all sorts of odd scavenged weapons; mutants, mutated animals and icky green mutation liquid pools of some sort; vehicles that would make the Road Warrior proud and enough morale dilemmas to shake a snake at.

I'd like to see a 4X style game, with players exploring nearby areas, sending out teams to uncover old technology or scavenge raw materials, and limited resources that can be fought over.

(..)


You've probably been asked this before, but what are your thoughts on Fallout 3?


I once said I'd only comment on Fallout 3 if I had nice things to say about it.

I really liked Fallout New Vegas. I thought it was a very good game. They had a good story, the interactivity was much improved and the Fallout humor was there in the right amount. Obsidian did a great job on New Vegas. I'm biased, of course, and think that FO1 was the best of the series. New Vegas is very good and comes closer to FO1 for me than any of the other games.


Personally, I liked the turn based combat of Fallout 1 & 2 (I have Fallout tactics, but never got round to playing it - should I?).


I liked the turn-based combat of FO1/2 as well. I was a big fan of the Jagged Alliance games of the time, too. I'd rather you play JA than Fallout Tactics.

Tactics wasn't quite finished. It was rushed out the door and didn't get the final polishing it needed.

We also made a bad decision by adding the real-time gameplay about half-way through development. While that didn't take too long to implement (in fact, it was ready before the turn-based combat was), we didn't realize at the time that it was going to cripple playtesting. Instead of playtesting each mission once, we had to playtest it three times. We just didn't test enough to balance the game or fix all the issues.

It's a decent game. Actually, Fallout Tactics a good game with some problems. There are better games to play unless you're a die-hard Fallout fan.

I was very frustrated to hear the long awaited Fallout 3 was going to be real time in the combat - while I played both Fallout 3 and New Vegas I found the combat to be dumbed down, and VATS was a shadow of it's former self (ie VATS in Fallout 1 & 2 was superior).

Much like the combat in Oblivion, I felt that instead of each % point put into a skill having an incremental effect (as it did in Fallout 1 & 2), in Fallout 3 & NV there were 'stat thresholds' where skills would have a noticeable improvement, eg shooting handling would improve every 25%.

What is your personal opinion of these design changes? Do you agree that these things I've percieved exist? If you do, do you see them as a big flaw?


I thought the combat in FONV was fine for being real-time. I understand the nature of the business that they felt they could't afford to go turn-based.

I think VATS is overpowered. I tried not to use it, but it did seem better in FONV.

I tried not to critically analyze the gameplay mechanics of the newer Fallout games. I just wanted to enjoy the games for what there were. I really enjoyed the atmosphere of both games. FONV did a great job with that.

The big improvement from Fallout 1 & 2 to Fallout 3 was the way the inventory was handled - what are your thoughts on this?

Yes. I take full responsibility for the inventory interface design in FO1/2. It worked okay in the beginning, but was too difficult to manipulate during actual gameplay. We didn't really notice it until it was too late.

I would have preferred a Diablo-style inventory interface.

News for Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Posted by Brother None - at 22:58

The RPGCodex offers some comments from Brian Fargo outlining some of Wasteland 2's development scheduling.

"The best production process is pretty fluid", Brian Fargo told us via email, "so I hate to commit to exactly how things roll out but I can tell you that 90% of the writing/design will happen by October. Scripting will start in about a month from now on the levels that are done. I plan to have all levels in and scripted by April thus leaving another 6 months for iteration and play test. The only reason we have the ability to have an accelerated production schedule is that the tools and user generated assets offer us a huge head start over the old ways of doing things. In addition, I am not having to make milestones to prove we are making progress which shaves another 25%. But I have been offered an fantastic and unique opportunity to make something special with Wasteland so I will not let the game go it isn't ready and I will have lots of beta testers to make sure that doesn't happen."
He also comments on the feedback of the pre-alpha screenshot.

Posted by Brother None - at 17:19

PC Powerplay offers an article-style interview with Brian Fargo, which reads like most of the interviews just after Kickstarter was done and doesn't add much news.

The upshot of this process is that any hint of compromise has been swept away in the blast wave. “Here’s what’s great about this project, and fan funding: I don’t need to try and appeal to some new audience. Joe Six-Pack, or whatever. Because I’m making this game for the core audience that wants this kind of game. I don’t have to think about how to broaden the market, or anything else.

“I’m going to make a game that makes the core fan-base ecstatic, and then I let the chips fall where they may.”
Next, design director Chris Keenan talked a little bit about character appearance and portraits on the Wasteland 2 forums.
We've been playing around with character customization already as we're building the core system for model creation. We started with a bunch of customizable slots on the character and found that in an isometric/top down view, most of the details get lost very easily. One element that helps us quite a bit is the character portraits. You'll be able to select from many portraits and also import your own. We will have enough slots to give enough choice in gameplay, but not as many as you'd find in a fantasy based game, like WoW. Does a leather strip around your wrist really help you survive the wastelands better? Probably not.

I've been following the armor discussion as well. I tend to agree that having everyone look like space rangers at the end of games can be a bit distracting. We are looking into designing into the world some additional paths beyond simply "bulky is always better". There are some interesting groups in the world working on different technologies. It is possible to get strong but thin materials.

Posted by Brother None - at 13:23

GamesIndustry has an interview with Obsidian's Chris Avellone on Kickstarter and Wasteland 2.

Q: You've said that you're really enjoying the project, and that you're a big fan of Wasteland and know Brian pretty well - I presume you've got a fairly collaborative ethos when it comes to working?

Chris Avellone: That's pretty much how it's panned out so far. It's been pretty free-form with the story design, the area division, the flow of the adventure. Everyone's in a very collaborative mood - we just bounce ideas off each other, there's not much "we don't like this."

Brian knows Wasteland better than anybody, so I do defer to him on direction and feel of things if there ever is any doubt - he knows the product better than I do. I'm a huge fan and I enjoy designing for it, but at the end of the day it's Brian's original vision for Wasteland that made it so well received so I listen.

Q: You obviously experienced it first as a player - you must be able to give Brian an interesting insight into how people perceived it.

Chris Avellone: Yeah, and a lot of the guys are playing it again and charting their experiences, writing walkthroughs and everything. I played the whole game through again as soon as I knew I was getting involved with the project and it's still just as much fun as it was in high school. I was pretty surprised because I thought it might suffer from Last Starfighter syndrome, where I thought it was amazing as a kid then watched it again and thought, "maybe I didn't know what I was talking about!"

Q: It must be odd working on Wasteland 2 after the modern Fallout - how do you keep Fallout ideas from cross-contaminating?

Chris Avellone: I actually discovered that Fallout was much more limiting than working on Wasteland, for a number of reasons. One is that the production pipeline is much more limiting now, in terms of what you can do, the second is that Fallout comes with a number of genre limitations. It's very important, for example to maintain that '50s sci-fi vibe. You can't lose that or you lose Fallout. In Wasteland, that's one of the parameters that's removed, you can do a fun post-apocalyptic game and have a lot more freedom with what you want to do. Wasteland 1 was full of crazy, fun stuff to do. I don't know if you can do that in Fallout and get away with it.

News for Monday, July 23, 2012

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 11:08

This is the third time it happens, and also the last since today is the last day of Summer sales, but the entire Bethesda Fallout franchise, which includes vanilla Fallout 3 and New Vegas, their GOTY/Ultimate Edition and the DLCs are 75% off.

News for Saturday, July 21, 2012

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 14:29

Ex-Obsidian Jason Fader, who worked as a tech producer on Fallout: New Vegas and its downloadable content, has answered to a ton of questions during a Reddit "AMAA" Q&A, many of them dealing with the Fallout title from Obsidian which makes it newsworthy for us. Reddit's layout is, ehr, peculiar, so hopefully you'll appreciate the quotes:

Just got Fallout NV with the steam sale. Crossing my fingers. What's your favorite DLC for New Vegas?


Old World Blues, by far! I loved the weekly reviews we would have of the build and cracking up at the new comedic lines that would go in. The voice acting talent was also great (Mmm... Doc Venture).

Speaking of Old World Blues, what gave you or your team the ideas to make it?

This DLC was the one where we "had fun with it". Any zany idea we wanted to do was fielded by our project director, Chris Avellone. Some ideas were used, others would not quite fit. We all rallied behind the theme of it since the concept itself was pure genius and hilarity. I often joked that OWB was "Wild Wasteland, the DLC".
As for where the idea itself came from, I believe it was from Chris's love of retro scifi and wanting to tell a story that was compelling, yet funny at times for the player.

(..)

Thank you for your work (and Obsidian in general) for FNV and its DLC. FNV is definitely one of my favorite RPGs ever and it gave us Fallout 2 fans great satisfaction. The references were small but all of them put a huge smile on my face.
One of my favorite parts of FNV was its DLC and how varied they are. It was awesome that you guys were able to step away from the traditional gameplay and try new things with DLC. I really liked Dead Money especially; that DLC was a blast to play on Hardcore mode. One of my favorite Fallout characters was from Dead Money, the one who didn't have much to say.
As a lead producer for the FNV DLC, what did you do? Contribute ideas? Made sure things were on schedule? Honest Hearts was a wonderful piece of DLC too, the environments were really cool.
Who was your favorite FNV companion? Where there things you had to cut that you wanted to include in the shipped game?


Thank you so much for the appreciation Smile
As lead producer, I worked closely with the project director, Chris Avellone (and Josh Sawyer for Honest Hearts) to schedule and manage the team. Most of my team management was through my producers, and they in turn would schedule their teams. I also acted as the liaison for the team to Bethesda, communicating their feedback and facilitating any actions needed. On top of this, I was in charge of scheduling/managing the FNV patches. It was a tough balancing act to work on DLC's and patches at the same time, but I'm proud of my team and how hard they worked to make it all happen.
Honest Hearts was a great DLC! Josh went the extra mile (literally) and spent a week up in Zion National Park to ensure we got the area right.
Hmm... I think my favorite companion was ED-E. He didn't say much, but that kid had heart!
I probably can't talk about things that were cut, but there was an idea I had that didn't get very far. I had an idea to do a Wild Wasteland radio station modeled after Coast to Coast AM. Players would need to have the Wild Wasteland perk, and upon getting that perk they would get a quest to find a "tinfoil hat". Once they found the hat, wearing it would "tune" them into the radio station. The station itself was going to be an easter egg for the team where I voiced the show's host, and members of the FNV team would voice the show's callers. All of the calls would be a story the team member would think of, typically dealing with something weird/paranormal.
It was an early early idea that literally did not get past being an email. We didn't do it since we'd need to localize everything, which would break the easter egg of the team's voices being used :-/

(..)

I'm guessing that there aren't any more plans for another New Vegas DLC, is there?
And have you ever heard of the project Nevada mod for the game? It added some pretty sweet additions to the PC version that would've gone so well with the release of the game.


Not to my knowledge, though I haven't been at Obsidian for over 3 months now. Typically with a GOTY (Game of the Year) version of a game, all DLC for it is included and none more are made after. The Ultimate Edition of FNV includes all 6 DLC's.
Project Nevada was a great looking mod! When it came out, our project director, Josh Sawyer, showed it to the team (he follows the modding community very closely) and everyone thought it looked awesome. Frank Kowalkowski (lead programmer) checked it out in Josh's office for a few minutes and said "That looks really good on PC!" with an emphasis on the word 'PC'.
Project Nevada's enhancements would probably be a performance hit on the PS3 :-/

(..)

What location would you like to see the next Fallout game in? In what order were the DLC written? How do you decide what DLC to work on first and which to release first? Why did you make it so I couldn't go back to the town in Dead Money, that was something players hated about Fallout 3 DLC why wasn't it changed for NV? How did you try to top excellent Fallout 3 DLC like Broken Steal and the Pitt? I loved Dead Money, you did excellent work with the backstory and location and it was challenging. I will be purchasing the other DLC once I get a larger hard drive, good work man.

Switching to list mode to cleanly answer these!
• I was asked this question at an E3 once and I loved my answer. I would love to work on a Fallout game taking place in Hawaii so I could have an excuse to do "research" there paid for by the company Wink
• They were pretty much written in order that they were released: Dead Monkey, Honest Hearts, Old World Blues, Lonesome Road
• The order of the DLC was pretty easy since Chris Avellone wanted to tell a continuous story, culminating with Ulysses in Lonesome Road. We just worked on them in that order Smile
• For Dead Money, it was all about keeping the suspense high with limited resources. That would have been broken if the player could go back at any time and refuel their ammo and stimpak supply. For the rest of the DLC's, it came down to a design decision as each DLC is its own experience. In Old World Blues, however, you can go back to The Sink since we wanted to give the player a home that they could go back to after the DLC.
• We never thought to ourselves "How can we make this better than Fallout 3's DLC's?" Instead, the question was more about learning from Fallout 3, listening to the community, and creating the DLC that made the most sense for Fallout: New Vegas. I see Fallout 3's DLCs as brothers/sisters alongside FNV's DLCs all in one amazing family!
Thanks for the questions!
There's a lot more at the link, including plenty of non-Fallout-related questions, so head there if you want to read more.

News for Friday, July 20, 2012

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 22:29

Through a Kickstarter update comes to us the very first screenshot of Wasteland 2, together with a lengthy update on matters of art, locales, assets, etc.:

We also have our first pass at a Wasteland 2 screen shot to share that is running inside the Unity engine. The process up till now has been in getting up to speed with Unity but also much discussion about look and feel. Our environment art director Koy Vanoteghem has written a nice piece below on our approach and process.

Releasing a screen shot this early in the process is a new concept for me as we typically want to hone in every element before we show it. But based on the requests and our desire for fan input, we are doing so to solicit feedback on the basic look. Please keep in mind that we have not put in the particle effects and post-processing which will have a dramatic effect on the scene, and this represents just one of the various environments for Wasteland 2 so expect to see other quite different locales. Also, this particular camera angle is on the low end of a range that the player can adjust upwards to a much more top-down view, for those who prefer that style during game play.

(...)

In our effort to establish the appropriate look and feel for the re-launch of the Wasteland franchise, we sifted through a variety of media types available on the market for inspiration. Among all of the similarly natured games, CG film shorts, and various documentaries, it became increasingly clear that the modern day conception of a post-apocalyptic world has diversified.

Of course, the desert-oriented wasteland devoid of life was still there. But a newer and more compelling version which highlighted nature's reclamation of vacated places took hold of our attention. This new conception gives us the opportunity to generate a variety of environment types while staying true to the narrative. It also allows the location and geology to dictate the flora and fauna, as well as the manner and state of decay. From the dry deserts and icy mountaintops of Arizona to the coastal conditions of LA and larger southern California region, each region generates its own flavor. You saw a bit of this in our early concept pieces we had commissioned. Because the early part of the game, where our development is currently focused, takes place in Arizona, this first screen shot depicts (surprise) a desert scene.

As we moved into prototyping game-play scenarios and in-game environments, we wanted to keep in mind the long-term strategies we had been talking about in the press. With our small team structure and the expectation of a significant integration of contractor and fan/backer based assets, we wanted to consider the efforts that would be involved in synthesizing those contributions into a consistent style and theme. The Unity engine has this wonderfully integrated asset store, full of props, environment sets, FX and tools, and it seemed the perfect proving grounds for our first pass at this new approach of game environment creation.

Certainly, purchased or prefabricated assets are nothing new; a variety of sites are out there selling "game-ready" props, and like most developers, we are familiar with that opportunity. But Unity's Asset Store had a few distinct advantages that we found appealing. The store, being accessible from within the editor itself, along with the purchase, downloading and importing of those packages, made this surprisingly painless. Packages containing not only the models and textures, but also materials, particle attachments, and animations were ready to use and then modify immediately upon purchase. And so our goal was to purchase a variety of packages, modify them to suit our stylistic needs, and put together a scene by combining them with assets and textures generated in-house.

The big exception to all of this is of course characters, which we are developing primarily in house. RPGs have always generated strong relationships between the player and the characters they craft and breathe life into as the game progresses. And to this end, we will be working to create characters that can be read cleanly with our camera angles. Strong silhouettes and bold colors in costuming and accessories, and their animations and poses working with a camera angle (that is still being tested), seemed a tall order for this approach, and so in this shot a few examples of that effort are present.

We will continue to develop the style and look of the game, undoubtedly that is something that will evolve as we move forward and branch out with other environment types. As we become more familiar with our new found friend Unity, and the technologies that are available to us for lighting, shadowing, and material set-up/execution, we hope you'll enjoy seeing it evolve along with us.

Koy Vanoteghem


Also, via a Chris Avellone's tweet comes the news that Tony Evans and Anthony Davis, both ex-Obsidian designers, are helping with the development. Evans already confirmed on Formspring that he isn't working full-time on the project and hasn't abandoned his own day job, but considering he has previous experience with player-created party dialogue mechanics and that he strongly supported the project in the past, it's still good to have him on board in some capacity.

Finally, since we're on the subject of Kickstarter, Fallout: New Vegas' tech producer Jason Fader lets us know that his current indie studio Iocaine Studios has launched a Kickstarter for their free-to-play steampunk casual title Steam Bandits. It's a little bit out of a scope, but we thought we might at least mention it.

News for Thursday, July 19, 2012

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 20:37

In case you missed the earlier flash sale, Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, plus their respective DLCs and Game of the Year/Ultimate Editions are 75% off on Steam.... again, this time as part of their daily deals. That makes it $ 9.99/€ 9.99 for Fallout: New Vegas - Ultimate Edition and $ 4.99 / € 4.99 for Fallout 3: Game of the Year Edition.

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 17:32

This is not exactly directly related to Fallout or post-apoc, but considering there hasn't been much in the way of news lately, I thought you might appreciate J.E. Sawyer's insight on theme of "art and appreciation". Here's a snippet:

Someone doesn't like how you portrayed a character. Someone doesn't like how you ended a story. Someone doesn't like how you framed your shots. "Art" as defense is not a repudiation of criticism, it is a hollow rejection of criticism. It does not encourage dialogue, it does not promote introspection, and it does not (typically) ameliorate the audience's displeasure. At its worst, such a defense encourages non-topical arguments about the nature of art itself. These discussions, in which no parties are ever victorious, quickly spiral so far away from the actual point of criticism that they often never return.

When I see this, I ask myself: is this how authors and audiences should interact? I don't think so. I think both the author and the audience deserve, and can benefit, more from honest appraisals of why we make the choices we makes. Stop talking about "art". Stop talking about "entitlement". How does casting blame elevate and advance conversation about the work? This is about questioning our work, our choices, our relationship (or lack thereof) with the audience.

Ultimately, our works are our answers to those questions. Implicitly, what we give to our audience is indicative of our values. Everything that follows -- the sales, the reviews, the debates, the revisions, the re-releases -- should be viewed as tools for the authors and audience to reinforce or recalibrate those values for future work. Unless an author plans on quitting creative endeavors after the next project he or she completes, this process is something all of us will go through for life.
Thanks RPG Codex.

News for Monday, July 16, 2012

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 11:19

In case you're interested in getting the PC version of Fallout: New Vegas, the game is one of the flash sales going on at the moment (still about 9 hours to go at the time of this writing), with the vanilla title at € 4,99/$ 4,99 and the Ultimate Edition at € 9.99/$ 9,99. All the DLC for the title is also 75% off, so in case you're missing something to try J.E. Sawyer's mod, or always wanted to know *why* exactly Ulysses was rambling about America, that's one of your best chances to do so.

EDIT: Fallout 3: Game of the Year Edition is also 75% off for this flash sale, although for some reason unknown to me that's not shown on the Steam homepage. It's € 4.99/$ 4.99, same as New Vegas vanilla.

News for Saturday, July 14, 2012

Posted by Brother None - at 1:45

Brian Fargo lets us know on twitter.

We'll release a WIP screenshot next week for Wasteland 2! No particle & post processing effects but it will show progress.

News for Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Posted by Brother None - at 3:57

For our Xbox users, the BethBlog points out the Fallout 3 DLC are all 50% off on the Microsoft marketplace for Gold users. Operation: Anchorage, The Pitt, Broken Steel, Point Lookout and Mothership Zeta are all 400 Microsoft Points (5 USD/4.80 EUR/3.40 GBP).

News for Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Posted by Brother None - at 23:12

Brian Fargo tweeted a few clarifications on the Wasteland 1 included in Wasteland 2 deal.

We cannot release it prior to Wasteland 2. It is to be bundled as part of Wasteland 2. I'm still happy to be able to get it in there at all.

I can't give specific details but the terms were very fair. I can tell you that most publishers would not have helped at ALL.

It's too early for me to know all the detailed issues with including the original Wasteland.

Fear not my worriers... The Wasteland 1 inclusion has no conditions related to Origin.
Especially the last bit should come as a relief. I've seen a lot of concern expressed about EA's involvement, especially on other websites, but it is not Origin-related, and EA still does not publish this game or influence its development/design.

In news from last month that we forgot to post about (thanks Candlejack for the reminder), some features of Unity 4 have been announced, including native Linux support. That was already promised for Wasteland 2, but it's good to see it confirmed.

Posted by Brother None - at 0:46

inXile has announced that the original Wasteland game will be included for free in the upcoming sequel Wasteland 2.

Wasteland 2 now to include the original game which started the post apocalyptic RPG genre

Newport Beach, CA - July 10th, 2012 - InXile Entertainment today confirmed that Wasteland 2 will include the original Wasteland game that was released in 1987. The original RPG is considered the godfather of post apocalyptic games and went on to win numerous awards. Computer Gaming World inducted Wasteland into their Hall of Fame, and in 1996 they ranked it the #9 best game from a list of 150 games.

"The #1 request we had during our Kickstarter campaign was to have the ability to play the first game. Fortunately EA has continued to support us on this project and has granted us the ability to bring the original to the players," said Brian Fargo, of inXile Entertainment. "It is great to be able to make Wasteland available for those feeling nostalgic or who want to experience it for the first time. It certainly will not be a pre-requisite to understand Wasteland 2, but it adds some extra flavor if you did play the prequel."

About inXile Entertainment:
Founded by long-time industry veteran @BrianFargo in 2002, inXile Entertainment develops interactive entertainment software for all popular game systems, personal computers and wireless devices. The most current project under development is Wasteland 2 which was recently financed by its fans via @Kickstarter. For more information about inXile Entertainment visit: www.inxile-entertainment.com.

Wasteland is a registered trademark of inXile entertainment
Brian Fargo adds:
We cannot release it prior to Wasteland 2. It is to be bundled as part of Wasteland 2. I'm still happy to be able to get it in there at all.

News for Monday, July 9, 2012

Posted by Tagaziel - at 19:37

Afterfall: Insanity will be receiving an Enhanced Edition patch, coinciding with its release on the Xbox 360 games console. All owners of the PC version of the game will be able to download the patch free of charge, while the Xbox 360 version will come with Enhanced Edition content by default.







Link



The official newspost provides a partial list of added content:
– New dynamic fight system

– Improved cutscenes (camera, sound, animations)

– More elements of psychosis (FearLock)

– Improved facial expression

– Improved sound of environment and characters

– Better efficiency/optimisation

– New weapon

– New automatic save points (checkpoints)

– New AI variants

– New light/special effects

– New and improved sound effects

– New balancing of gameplay

– Changes in the narration style

– Technical and gameplay improvements
Link: Afterfall: InSanity Extended Edition. List of changes.

Posted by Brother None - at 4:45

We're not exactly inundated with Wasteland 2 news, so even this little tidbit will do: Matt Findley and Brian Fargo have started a Pinterest page where you can find third-party images "that inspire the world that will become Wasteland 2". Take a look-see.

News for Sunday, July 8, 2012

Posted by Brother None - at 23:41

A team of modders have been working on adding some Van Buren-inspired content to Fallout: New Vegas, and have now released the beta version of their mod. You can read their blog here, and they released a teaser trailer over a week ago.



Beyond Boulder Dome

IMPORTANT: As we're currently in BETA stage, we are thankful for any bugs you let us know about, so please post all your bugs in the comments section, rather than sending a private message. We will do our best to address every issue, and we will do so ASAP. We may not be able to reply to every commenter directly, but we will take your problems into account in our next update.

I'm currently out of town until the 9th, so I have limited computer access, and no access to the GECK, but the very talented Moburma is handling bug-fixing while I'm gone, and he's doing a great job so far. Also, dragbody is working on fine-tuning the armors; removing any bugs there.

Thanks for all your comments, votes and endorsements so far and thanks for playing! We will continue to work on this mod until all the bugs are ironed out, and we'll be adding improvements and new content also.

DESCRIPTION

The Boulder Dome was constructed before the war to be a "city of the future"; a prototype for future cities on the moon and other planets. It was also an advanced scientific research facility, and an Arc of sorts, built to withstand severe nuclear attacks. And withstand it did.

Mere hours before the bombs dropped, only the elite of society, or those with specialist skills; the top of their fields, were transported to the Dome and transported two hundred years into the future. Put into a "cold sleep", they would ride out the war and the following chaos, to start a new world in the future.

When the scientists woke up, they found themselves in a nightmare. Their bodies now riddled with a strange disease of unknown origin, dubbed the Seltsam Syndrome; literally meaning "strange disease". Forced to wear advanced Bio-suits, to help slow the spread, they struggle to survive, as time is running out.

Beyond the Dome, outside the highly toxic ruins of Boulder, two factions are moving in.

The NCR has a deadly and unmerciful mission, to stop the spread of the Seltsam Syndrome by eliminating all potential carriers. They have tracked the disease to its last known vestige, The Boulder Dome itself.

The Colorado branch of the Brotherhood of Steel have also set their sights on the Dome. Its noble leader seeks to control the Dome for the good of the region, to bring peace to the chaos. Very close to a real, working cure for the Seltsam Syndrome, he offers a peaceful solution.

Forced into the middle of things, is a simple courier, far from home. The decisions of the courier may slide the balance in many different ways, ultimately determining the fate of the scientists of The Boulder Dome.

Colorado is a place with many secrets and surprises. Three new worldspaces. New unique weapons and armor, new creatures never before seen with custom sounds, new robots. 50+ fully voiced and lip-synced characters. A long main quest with multiple pathways, and many side-quests should provide many hours of gameplay.

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 22:14

Taking a cue from Brenda Brathwaite's and Chris Avellone's thoughts on voice acting, Joystiq's Rowan Kaiser has penned a rather interesting piece on voice acting in role-playing games. Aside from a few exceptions he seems convinced that the obsession with full voice-acting hasn't been beneficial to the genre, and I find it difficult to disagree with him and Avellone:

Avellone described three main issues: first, that it disrupts his design process; second, his personal preference in terms of role-playing; and third, that their hard work that may not bear fruit.

In the first case, he says: "...on the resource end, the flexibility for fixing and editing voice-acted speech often interferes with the later stages of production as well – working on Alpha Protocol vs. Fallout 2, for example, were much different experiences, and I enjoyed F2 more." This aligns him with Braithwaite's experiences.

When I asked him if he had any particular example, he couldn't pick just one, saying, "My best example of voice inflexibility is just about any game I've worked on that was fully VO'd. Whether Alpha Protocol or [Knights of the Old Republic 2], the recording and localization must be done much earlier than the end product. If a quest is edited, changed, a character dropped, a mission removed, an error found, then you spend a lot of time editing lines and trying to work with the story cohesion."

Having played Knights of the Old Republic 2, a game with tremendous potential but one which was clearly hampered by lack of development time, I could sympathize. Huge swaths of that game were removed, rendering the original end of the game an incoherent mess. Modders have patched in parts that were removed, but they lack much of the polish of the original game. The amount of time spent fixing the issues of recorded dialogue must have played a part in the lack of time available to meet the publisher's release date demands.

News for Friday, July 6, 2012

Posted by Per - at 22:51

Rock, Paper, Shotgun interviews someone about Nuclear Union, which we first heard about a couple of weeks ago.

RPS: How linear is the story?

Romanova: The story is linear as much as the global task of our hero demands it. Player has a freedom of choice otherwise.

RPS: How open is that world? Can the player explore anywhere as in, say, Fallout 3?

Romanova: We plan to create a considerably vast world. Sometimes it scares us when we realize how much work we still need to do. There will be story missions with interactive scripted scenes. However after the completion of such a mission, the player will be able to freely roam the game world, take part in various events, complete additional quests and uncover secrets of the new world.


The emphasis of what's revealed still seems to be on combat and tactics rather than character interaction or choice and consequence, but we'll keep watching. Head over to the website if you want to see cool screenshots of magicians on pedestals and whatnot.

Thanks to Bengt.

News for Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Posted by Per - at 4:35

Since the beginning of 2012, German indie developers msGameDevelopment have been working on a post-apocalyptic action RPG that they call Contamination Europe, using the Unity engine to put you in a slightly blasted Germany of tomorrow.

In 2065 a global nuclear war destroyed human civilization, and nearly killed everyone and everything on Earth. The few that survived the war formed new factions and communities in the remnants of the destroyed cities. As time passes new species emerge, mutated by radiation. Eighty-nine years later the world is still a rotting graveyard, but a few survivors continue fighting to see the next day.


Resource wars, nukes, bleak landscapes, mutated animals, "Radiated Ones", the traders of Nob, the junkers of Iron Town, tribals, raider clans, sentient goo that breeds "Plague Mutants" to oppose humanity, a "Panzer League" that operates out of underground bunkers and fights the mutants using pre-war power armour and energy weapons but mistrusts outsiders... some of this stuff is just vaguely familiar! There are some ambitious design goals however:
  • Contamination Europe is a 3rd person RPG but it’s possible to switch in a topdown view and play in this perspective too.
  • We’re focusing on a very realistic gameplay. The game will be hardcore, not easy-casual. E.g., inventory is limited by space and weight, every item has weight, so you can’t carry unlimited ammo. Some equipment is too bulky to fit into the backpack, these items can only be equipped directly e.g. some armors, if the player wants to equip another armor, the old one must be dropped.
  • Full character system with attributes, skills and advantages, resistances against radiation, biological and chemical agents
  • Realistic game world: high tech equipment or clean food are very rare and valuable. This means low tech equipment is more important, because the good stuff can’t be found at every corner.
  • Dangerous environment. The environment is contaminated with radiation, biological threats like bacteria and viruses as well as toxic gases. If the Player has no proper equipment to protect him, he will die quickly in these areas.
  • Different ways to solve a quest.
  • Many playable areas, linked by a world map (like Fallout 1+2 or Baldurs Gate)
  • Dark, harsh mood and setting. The atmosphere should convey a believable and depressing post-apocalyptic feeling.


Head over to their website if you want to read a few more history tidbits, see a few more pics, follow a few more relevant links (their YouTube channel has a bunch of concept art and engine previews), and learn about their upcoming Indiegogo fundraising campaign.

News for Sunday, July 1, 2012

Posted by Per - at 0:30

Nukapedia is one of those Fallout wikis and they interviewed InXile producer Chris Keenan and kind of put that into print. I have no idea if any of it is new and exciting, so I'll quote it in this silly fashion:

AC: Lastly, "DarkTwinkie" - is there a story behind your unusual forum username?

CK: It is a pretty ridiculous name.
Something that is not ridiculous is culture and that's why we get a Fallout-related play leading into a New Vegas mod, all by some fellow named Charles Battersby.
Ray was prepared for the apocalypse, but he wasn’t prepared to share his old fallout shelter with his new wife Jane. When nuclear war strikes, this snarky couple find themselves trapped in a bunker built for one.

Inspired by post-apocalyptic and dystopian video games like Fallout, Wasteland and Bioshock, this dark comedy has bittersweet fun with end of the world.

After the show, the story continues in a video game where audiences can explore locations seen on stage, and follow the trail of the characters to learn what happened after the events of the play in an interactive adventure featuring voice work by actors from the show.
This thing begins with a preview at The Brick theatre in Brooklyn on July 6th - you can get more details if you go to their homepage, click on "Game Play 2012" on the right, and then scroll down a lot. You won't have to go there and see the play in order to download the mod.